Re: Ebonics

Subject: Re: Ebonics
From: Linda Castellani <castle -at- CRL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 11:18:33 -0800

On Fri, 20 Dec 1996, Vikki Shine wrote:

> Can someone give me a word in Ebonics? Is the same as Black English of the
> eighties?

> Vikki

Here are two sidebars on the issue, taken from the two daily papers I
subscribe to, The Oakland Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

From the Tribune:


"Linguists trace the origins of Black English or Ebonics to the Gullah
language that sales in Georgia and the Carolinas developed when their
Niger-Congo language came into contact with English. Experts say it has
its own syntax, verb forms, and grammar. Some examples:

"The verb 'to be' does not exist in Niger-Congo languages. Speakers say
'he be rich' instead of 'he is rich.'

"The absence of the 'th' sound at the end of words, which results in
'wif' instead of 'with.'

"Use of stressed 'bin,' as in, 'She bin married' for 'She has been
married for a long time.'"

From the Chronicle:


"Some examples of black English, provided by the American Speeh, Language
and Hearing Association:

"Simplifies consonants at the end of words. Thus, 'hand' becomes 'han.'

"Drops the g in the final ng sound, so 'walking' becomes 'walkin.'

"Third person present tense is absent, as in 'He walk.'

"Uses done to emphasize an action has been completed: 'He done did it.'

"Uses stressed 'bin' as in 'She bin married' for 'She has been married
for a long time (and still is.)'"

And from my own experience, recently. I heard the mother of a student
who had been gunned down on a local community college campus plead for a
stop to the violence. Only what she said was, "Stop the violen." When I
mentioned this to a friend of mine who is a linguistic anthropologist,
she said, "Yes. They don't have that particular consonant cluster in
their dialect."

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